Better hop to buying hoppy brew. Businessweek recently reported that the price of American hops has doubled in the last decade, largely thanks to the craft beer revolution of the last decade. That’s potentially bad news for lovers of high-octane India Pale Ales, beer that often relies on absurd amounts of hops to provide their flavorful kick. So before they begin inevitably skyrocketing in price, here are the best five hoppy brews to grab off the shelves.
DOGFISH HEAD 90 MINUTE IPA
What it is: Not to be confused with Dogfish Head’s 60, 75 or 120 Minute versions, the popular 90 Minute IPA is the first that this Delaware brewer claims was continuously hopped during production – leading to a great hoppy flavor.
Tasting notes: Full of citric hops and inklings of grapefruit, apricot and orange with a caramel maltiness thrown in for good measure. The alcohol is only partially masked by the flavors, meaning you’re not going to be fooled by what you’re drinking.
Why it’s great: Slightly more charged than the 60 Minute, but not quite a quasi-barleywine like the 120 Minute version, the 90 Minute feels just right when it comes to high hops level. dogfish.com
GREEN FLASH WEST COAST IPA
What it is: No one will mistake it for a territorial rap feud, but some beer fiends fiercely debate east coast and west coast styles of IPAs. As opposed to the kinder, gentler brew from the east, the left coast brings big, bold, knock-you-on-your ass kind of flavors. Just like the name implies, Green Flash West Coast IPA from San Diego is the quintessential example of this style.
Tasting notes: Brace yourself for the first gulp because it’s strong and bitter and uncompromising. An initial impression of grapefruit and pine leads to a strong burst of pungent hoppiness.
Why it’s great: As the label says, West Coast IPA is “Extravagantly Hopped.” It’s not for the weak of heart, but the citrus flavor does provide balance for the bitterness. greenflashbrew.com
BELL’S HOP SLAM
What it is: This double IPA is a rare seasonal beer that Michigan brewery Bell’s only releases during the winter, making it a blazing hot commodity in the freezing cold amongst hop-nerds.
Tasting notes: Full-bodied, but not heavy or thick. A floral pine-like smell transitions into a pleasant mouthful of honey and citrus flavors with a smooth malt-like finish.
Why it’s great: Don’t be intimidated by the name of this double-IPA and the 10% APV. It’s got bite, but Hop Slam will not, in fact, pummel your taste buds into submission. bellsbeer.com
What it is: If the zombie apocalypse actually occurred, hop lovers would surely hole up in Northwest Indiana’s Three Floyds Brewery. It’s a mecca of hoppy ales – with Zombie Dust chief amongst them. It’s an American Pale Ale famous for its complex taste and slightly frightening label drawn by comic artist Tim Seeley.
Tasting notes: This amber colored ale contains so-called Citra hops, leading to strong tropical and citrus flavors. It’s smoother and less bitter than the big IPA’s on this list.
Why it’s great: Undead in name only, Zombie Dust is consistently one of the freshest tasting hoppy beers on the planet. 3Floyds.com
What it is: Just as day logically leads to night, California brewer Lagunitas followed up its DayTime IPA with a newly-released version called NightTime. It’s like DayTime’s dark and scary big brother, featuring a black-as-night color and an ABV of 8.6%.
Tasting notes: NightTime’s got plenty of hops that lead to a lemon-like bitterness, but that’s counterbalanced with a malty aroma and molasses and sweet cocoa flavors.
Why it’s great: Sequels rarely live up to the original, but Lagunitas outdid themselves with this ballsy, limited time follow up to DayTime. lagunitas.com